In January 2011, at a church winter camp I was stricken with the desire to learn more about God than what I was getting on Sunday. Fortunately, even after I left winter camp this desire burned within me and could not be ignored. So I decided to take practical steps to achieve this: I began to look through my church bulletin for any classes or Bible studies starting, and I found 2 different free classes were just starting up—Christianity Basics and Ministry Basics. So I started to go to these classes. In Christianity Basics I was able to develop a relationship with my youth pastor. During this class I was able to engage in discussion with him about the fundamentals of the Christian faith and through that we developed a stronger relationship, and I developed a stronger desire for God.
As I learned more and more, I began to want to share it so I asked my pastor about how we might accomplish the goal of deeper study. I began to ask around the youth room and gauge general interest. Unfortunately, during this time our youth group was struggling and going through a season of change. We ended up having three different high school pastors within a period of a year and because of that people started to disconnect from actively participating within the youth group. Over a process of several months I met with different leaders and youth pastors to see how we could possibly create a deeper study of the Word within the youth room. Unfortunately I did not have any idea how to do develop this study and because of that probably seemed very scatter-brained and random to those I talked to (hehehe!). I ended up talking 5 times with 2 different pastors and my cause was no further advanced and I was no less frustrated.
One night in the fall we had a worship night where the worship band “The Neverclaim” came and played. Because my family had been one of the main supportive families in the church, known for hosting foreigners and people who came to visit the church, we were asked if we could host the band. I ended up getting to meet and talk with the band. During that night I was amazed and inspired by the ordinariness of the band’s faith. Their faith didn’t have to be extraordinary, because they were already ordinarily extraordinary in their faith and walk with God. That morning I went to breakfast with the band and my new high school pastor. As the band swapped stories I was able to hear the lead singer, Jeremiah Carlson, share his testimony and share about starting a youth Bible study in high school, and as soon as he shared that God convicted my heart and it felt like a light bulb illuminated over my head. I could do the SAME! That was how I could establish deeper teaching within the youth group! I felt like I had been hit with a sledge hammer! It was so simple! Why hadn’t I thought of it earlier? Luckily, since I was sitting next to my pastor I immediately whipped my head to him, and asked about meeting to discuss the possibility of this Bible study! We ended up scheduling a meeting and setting a date.
I, being somewhat uncreative, simply called the Bible study, “The Youth Intensive.” I hosted the Bible study at my house on Friday nights. Over this past year I have grown more spiritually, mentally, and physically than I ever have (I actually grew several inches in height too!) To my surprise PEOPLE ACTUALLY CAME! We had a regular group of 12-13 people. During this we saw regular healings and I became even more passionately in love with my Creator in the process. It must have been a divine appointment because I am extremely unorganized. We had a “worship and treasure hunt night” and saw miracles! We saw God’s rule and reign overpower our own insecurities, as we put His will before ours and stepped into faith. During the Youth Intensive, I must have handed out 500 fliers and sent out as many messages, without response. It would be easy to be discouraged and quit. But the fact of the matter is for some reason when we put God’s will before our own, and actively pursue it with action, God pours into us twice what we give out.
The Kingdom of God isn’t only in the miracles and healings—God’s kingdom happens when we simply say “Yes.” When we say, “God I need you in my life more than I understand, more than I realize, so come and have YOUR way with me.” The Kingdom of God thrives when we continually say God have YOUR way in and through me—”I surrender my all.” This ideal is simply represented by a single word “Yes”. God is always seeing if we will be willing to say YES to His will and allow that YES to stir us to action. Saying “Yes” to God is a continual process that happens throughout our life. Just like one must to develop any skill, we have to persist and continually choose to devote time to spend time with God and continue to practice relationship with him. True relationship with God is for the long haul. We need to continually place ourselves before God and say “Yes” to Him in faith and in action. The Kingdom of God thrives naturally in our action and in our faith. When we allow the desire for God to stir us to faith based action, we become dependent on God. Through that we become supernaturally empowered as ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.